Ransomware

LockBitSupp Denies Being Dmitry Khoroshev, Opens Contest

opens contest offering $1000 to anyone able to contact

by Alan J May 10, 2024 in Cybersecurity News, Firewall Daily Reading Time: 3 mins read 0

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In an unexpected turn of events, LockBitSupp, the administrator of the notorious group, responded publicly to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and international law enforcement's efforts to identify and apprehend him.

After bringing back previously seized domains, law enforcement identified Dmitry Yuryevich Khoroshev as the mastermind behind the LockBit operations in an earlier public announcement. This was followed by official sanctions issued by the U.S., U.K., and Australia, accompanied by 26 criminal charges ranging from extortion to hacking, collectively carrying a potential maximum sentence of 185 years imprisonment.

The Justice Department has also offered a staggering $10 million reward for information leading to Khoroshev's capture. However, LockBitSupp denied the allegations and attempted to turn the situation into a peculiar contest on the group's remaining leak site.

LockBitSupp Opens Contest to Seek Contact with Individual

The Lockbit admin made a post within the group's leak site about a new contest () in order to encourage individuals to attempt to contact Dmitry Yuryevich Khoroshev. The announcement asserts that the FBI is wrong in its assessment and that the named individual is not LockBitSupp.

The announcement seems to try and attribute the alleged identification mistake as a result of an unfortunate cryptocurrency mixing with the ransomware admin's own cryptocurrency funds, which they claim must have attracted the attention of the FBI.

Cryptocurrency mixing is activity done to blend different streams of potentially identifiable cryptocurrency to provide further anonymity of transactions.

The contest, brazenly invites participants to reach out to the individual believed to be Dmitry Yuryevich Khoroshev and report back on his wellbeing for $1000. The ransomware admin then claimed that the first person to provide evidence such as videos, photos, or screenshots confirming contact with the the “poor guy,” as LockBitSupp refers to him, would receive the reward.

Source: X.com (@RedHatPentester)

Participants were instructed to send their findings through the encrypted messaging platform Tox, using a specific Tox ID provided by LockBitSupp.

LockBitSupp Shares Details of Named Individual

In addition to the contest details, LockBitSupp shared multiple links to LockBit-associated file-sharing services on the dark web, presumably for individuals to archive gathered details and submit as contest entries. They also listed extensive personal details alleged to belong to Dmitry Khoroshev, including email addresses, a Bitcoin wallet address,  passport and tax identification numbers

Amid the defiance and contest announcement, LockBitSupp expressed concern for the well-being of the person they claim has been mistakenly identified as them, urging Dmitry Yuryevich Khoroshev, if alive and aware of the announcement, to make contact.

This unusual move by LockBitSupp attempts to challenge the statement made by law enforcement agencies and underscores the complex dynamics of the cyber underworld, where hackers taunt their pursuers openly.

LockBitSupp emphasized that the contest will remain relevant as long as the announcement is visible on the blog. The admin hinted that there may be similar contests in the future with more substantial rewards, urging followers to stay tuned for updates.

The announcement was uploaded and last updated on May 9, 2024, UTC, leaving the public and the cybersecurity community watching closely for further developments.

In a recent indictment Khoroshev was identified to behind LockBit's operations and functioned as the group's administrator since September 2019. Khoroshev and the LockBit group was stated to have extorted at least $500 million from victims in 120 countries across the world. Khoroshev was stated to have received around $100m from his part in this activity.

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